You are probably here because you have a chapter event looming and need some tools and resources to make the organization of the event easier. If you want to read a bit more about how to organize a FMI-Event, check out the May 2015 FMI eJournal article on this topic. Ideas are also available via the FMI-Idea Locker.
Do you have a resource you want to include in the locker? Please post a short description of the resource in the comments section including your contact information and we’ll be sure to evaluate it for inclusion. Please note where in the FMI-event life cycle it should be included:
- Idea-generation: establishing the program for the year
- Event-Idea Refinement: taking a possibility and turning it into a plan of action
- Pre-Event Organization: acting on the plan of action
- Event: the big day, lunch hour, breakfast meeting, etc.
- Post-Event: How to keep on learning after the audience has gone home
- FMI – Idea Locker: Never let an idea (good, bad or half baked) go to waste, keep them in the FMI-Idea Locker (password required).
- Idea-Rodeo: the Edmonton Chapter ran an idea rodeo with its members via email and an annual survey. Twelve new ideas were submitted which two were accepted and being developed as events for the following program year.
- Event Idea Document: This is a one to two page document detailing the idea, value to our members, speakers and other details.
- Sample: Procure to Pay – Event Idea.
- Context for the Idea: the big picture of why this topic is interesting
- What is the idea: a broad brush overview of how the event will be run
- Value to Members: take away of why the audience should come
- Event Management: is responsible for developing the idea
- Sample: Procure to Pay – Event Idea.
- Assign Event Manager: The most important planning tool is assigning a project/event manager for each event. Sample job description for the event manager:
- Develop, gain approval and manage the project plan, issue and risk logs (the plan)
- Monitor and communicate to the organizing group status of the plan
- Recommend risk-re-mediation activities
- Coordinate the design of an overall evaluation processes relating to the plan and the event
- Working with the sponsoring organizations, ensure that all costs are covered
- Calculate the final profit/loss for the event; distribute/collect monies as required
- Complete the final accounting and reports to sponsoring organizations
- Develop the program agenda
- Recruit panelists, moderators and other performers
- Manage all communications with the panelists
- Manage the research, preparation and rehearsal of the programs
- Manage the execution of the program
- Develop an evaluation process for the program to determine if it met the expected results
- Contribute to the final report to the sponsoring organizations
- Prepare a program summary and distribute to sponsoring organizations
- Manage the panelist thank you process
- Excel Planning Tool: Used to help the event-manager, the Microsoft Excel based event-planning tool has nine tabs:
- FMI Event Planning Tool.
- Flag (blue): this controls the name and date of the event, who are the volunteers and the version for the plan.
- Detail.Agenda (green): is the most important tab, it allows the chapter to see the flow and timing of the event. It also provides a level of comfort to your speakers knowing that you are organized enough to have such a detailed plan.
- Volunteer-Roles (green): this content clearly describes what each person is accountable for. Given how busy people are, it is only fair that you clearly spell out their responsibilities for an event.
- ProjPlan (green): The Project Plan tab should be seen at a minimum as a memory jog checklist for smaller events (e.g. Oh Shoot, we forgot to recruit a photographer!) through to a detailed planning document for more complex events. If your chapter is using Microsoft Project (or the like) to plan your events, you are already way beyond this rudimentary tool.
- Cost Estimate (green): this is where we estimate our profit, loss and break even for the event.
- Venue-Needs (yellow): a listing of equipment needing to be arranged with venue or audio-visual organization. Delete this tab for smaller and simpler events.
- Risk-Log (yellow): a listing of potential risks and mitigation strategies. Delete this tab for smaller and simpler events.
- Venue-Needs (yellow): a listing of issues requiring resolution. Delete this tab for smaller and simpler events.
- Event Registration & Communication Tool: FMI National is developing their tool but in the meantime consider using the following:
- Conference Calls and Event Planning Meetings: a bi-weekly 20-30 minute conference call does wonders as they are very focused and time limited. See if your employer has a conference bridge that you can use.
- Presenter Conference Call: this is one of the most important meetings when organizing an event if there are two or more presenters. It gives FMI a chance to set the tone of the event and it allows the speakers to synchronize their presentation content. This helps the speakers to understand what to expect and prepare for the event. In addition, we typically try to share the power points amongst the speakers so that there is minimal overlap in content.
- Pre-Conference Notes: this is a 2-6 page PDF document providing a summary of the program, speaker(s) biographies, other relevant content and any FMI news (including upcoming events). This document is available 2-3 weeks in advance of the event on the FMI.ca event registration page.
- Sample Pre-Conference Notes – PDF: Pre Conference Notes Sample
- Sample Pre-Conference Notes – Microsoft Publisher File: [Pending]
- Promotion: Most events are promoted via three emails: an early bird, normal-promotion and last minute reminder email. A downloadable poster allows members (in theory) to get the news out in their work area.
- Sample Emails: [Pending]
- Sample Poster – PDF: FMI-2015-02-26-Procurement-Poster
- Sample Poster – Microsoft Publisher: [Pending]
- Single Presentation Deck: the advantage of combining the various speaker deck(s) into a single one is that you can insert biography, transition and break slides. As well, post the file to the FMI.ca event registration page the night before so audience members can follow along on their tablets.
- Time Cards: a Toast Masters technique, it keeps the program on track as everyone avoids the dreaded ‘red-STOP-card’.
- Time Cards: Speaking-TimeCards
- Record the Event: if you are planning on producing post-conference notes, a webinar, etc. consider recording the event.
- Text a Question: for audience members a bit shy, they can text their questions in. Questions are edited as required.
- Sample text a question table poster: [pending].
- Post-Conference Notes: After the event, consider producing post-conference notes. These notes are a summary of the speaking points of each presentation and any discussions or questions. Because of the editing and layout effort, the author should list the notes as a writing credit.
- Event-Debrief: finally, no event goes un-debriefed.
Planning a la Carte
The above resources are listed in the resource locker and should be seen as a menu of tools not a prescription of activities to follow. For example, a simple-single speaker event, many of the above tools can be ignored or simplified. Conversely, for a larger event or more complex event may require an online project plan and possibly a collaboration site to share documents and communications.
Can I Share the Ideas and Resources Outside of FMI?
Absolutely! Please use and re-purpose the ideas and resources as it demonstrates the value and the leadership of the FMI in our communities. All that the FMI asks is that you (or the person using the ideas/resources) include a little note something like this:
‘Organization of this event was partially/fully based on an event organization method developed by the volunteers of the Financial Management Institute of Canada and is used with permission under the creative-commons. We thank the FMI for sharing their methods and will let them know how it worked out for us’